While many of my criticisms of this album still persist from the day that I reviewed it, I can't deny that this album has grown on me in the year since its release. Mostly due to the band recent ambient album The Things They Believe from earlier this year. After such a seemingly dramatic pivot, going back and hearing the band brush elbows with the Deftones on "Two Way Mirror" and "New Faces In The Dark" have received a lot more acceptance from me. If only this band would combine the ambience and shoegaze together, then we could have a truly special album. As it is, Loathe wear their influences on their sleeves, but do enough to that sound that it doesn't feel like a direct copy.
My thoughts on some tracks (including my suggested ones):
Paradise Lost – “Mouth” (from “Believe In Nothing”, 2001)
3/5. A rock song from a usually gothic/doom band that might have inspired the post-grunge movement with bands like Seether. My brother who's into Seether and other post-grunge bands would like that song.
Bring Me The Horizon – “Ludens” (from “Post Human: Survival Horror” E.P., 2020)
4/5. This EP marks the return of the metal side of Bring Me the Horizon that was absent after the grand Sempiternal. This amazing song is also in the Death Stranding soundtrack. Ludens is the name of the mascot for Kojima Productions, the company that made Death Stranding, proving once again that this song is a contribution to the game soundtrack. The return to their heavier form can be prominently found near the 3-minute mark. This band has far more potential than Falling in Reverse. BMTH has been given a break from metal, and now the break is over. Welcome back!
Disturbed – “Asylum” (from “Asylum”, 2010)
4.5/5. This track has the alt-metal instrumentation to expect from the band! David Draiman's first words here are a passionate shout of "Release me!" I actually like this song much more now than when I listening to the band 9 years ago, probably because the heaviness I can definitely tolerate much more. The hook is worth repeated listens; "And the loneliness is killing me!" A hard-hitting radio single!
This track was comfortably the highlight of Devin Townsend Project's alternative metal focused 2009 "Addicted" album in my opinion. The chorus hook is nothing short of spectacular & the way to song-writing builds up to a spine-tingling wall-of-sound crescendo pretty much blew my mind.
One of the few true highlights of the album for me! I definitely enjoy the serene beauty of Anneke van Giersbergen complimenting Devin's melody-craft.
I've given this one a few bashes this morning & found that I quite liked it but wouldn't class it as essential listening. Sure it incorporates some new elements like the electronic component & the addition of former The Gathering front woman Anneke van Giersbergen but the end result still sounds like Devin with his trademark wall of melodic sound. Unsurprisingly, all of the various ingredients have been beautifully integrated. In fact, Devin really should send the album to Megadeth band leader Dave Mustaine so that he can see how albums like "Risk" & "The World Needs A Hero" should have sounded as the boys seem to have had similar ideas but produced vastly different results with a wide disparity in regards to quality.
Anneke has sat amongst my favourite female metal vocalists (if not THE favourite) for a very long time now so I welcomed the collaboration. She certainly sounds great here too but I do prefer to hear her voice being highlighted a little more than it is amidst Devin's huge soundscapes. The production is obviously outstanding though & this gives some of the middling tracks the grunt required to see them getting over the line. The guitar tone is heavy as shit while Ryan Van Poederooyen puts in a stellar performance behind the drum kit.
It's interesting that many fans seem to regard this album as an industrial metal record. Sure there are some electronic elements at play here but there's not a consistently industrial/mechanical atmosphere. "Addicted" is far more uplifting that that & I'm actually fine with the alternative metal tag as a lot of this material looks to remove some of the boundaries that separate metal from your more accessible styles whilst always maintaining a predominantly metal aesthetic. Despite the general consensus, when you examine the tracklisting as a whole you'll find that "Addicted" isn't really much poppier than Devin has dished out before either & I do think that saying it incorporates "dance music" is a stretch too as the electronics are used purely for colour & there aren't too many artificial dance beats included here.
Overall, I think "Addicted" had the potential to be a really great album given the quality of the production, performances & most of the hooks but there's a major flaw that prevents me from scoring it as highly as I'd like to. Unfortunately the tracklisting is let down by a couple of weak commercially focused tracks (i.e. "Bend It Like Bender!" & particularly the soppy ballad "Ih-Ah!") which combine to bring my score down by a half-star. Otherwise there's plenty of meat for Devin's fanatical audience to dig their teeth into here with the clear album highlight "Supercrush!" sitting amongst the best work of Devin's entire career.
Given my age, Linkin Park were one of the bands while I was growing up, but I was never into any of the popular music scenes back then. I skated right by all the Linkin Park, Korn, and Slipknot worship in favor of classic rock, Tool, and Dream Theater. Even though I listened to next to zero Linkin Park, this seriously takes me back since it's such a product of its time. The early 2000's were basically the only time when this angsty and weird hip-hop/rap, electronic, and metal hybrid could have existed and I came out of this having a lot more respect for this band.
Even though the riffs don't exactly have a ton of pop to them and the rapping is overall very monotone and lifeless compared to other, better rapping examples, Meteora is nuanced in a way that makes it so these shortcomings don't completely ruin the album. The album also feels like an album as well, with a lot of songs having great transitions and a nice overall flow to the whole thing. I think Linkin Park excel at being brutally accessible, with nothing on Meteora being particularly crazy, but I think that's why it holds up so much better than even their "cornerstone album" Hybrid Theory. "Crawling In My Skin" has become a recurring, embarrassing teenage angst joke of a song for slightly good reason, but I didn't find anything nearly as egregious as that in Meteora.
I think I have to agree with Saxy in that this album may come back in style eventually as one of the better examples of what came of the early 2000's Nu-Metal craze. Pleasantly surprised.
I thoroughly enjoy "Swerve City", "Leathers" and "Entombed", but the second half of this record tries to get more progressive and can't stick the landing.
It's interesting that I actually find the B-side to be the stronger of the two, particularly the four track run from "Tempest" through to "Goon Squad" which is the best part of the record for mine.
every Deftones album since Diamond Eyes has focused more on texture than hooks.
I dunno about that. To my ears "Koi no Yokan" is still built around heavy riffs & catchy hooks & I feel similarly about "Ohms".
P.S. This is fourth Deftones album featured in The Gateway in just fourteen months. And while I certainly see no problem with highlighting one of Alternative Metal's best groups, it does feel a little disproportionate, especially when there is a shoegaze/post-metal/alternative metal revival going on with groups like Loathe and Hum.
Point taken. I knew it was self-indulgent when I made the call for this month's feature but I honestly didn't realise how heavily I'd focused on the one band until you guys highlighted it. You'll see more variation moving forwards. In fact, I've already got something penciled in for next month that's more in line with your suggested direction.
I think I'm going to end up right in the middle of you two after revisiting this. I found Katatonia years ago and while I really enjoy most of their material I never had a strong desire to go back and listen to albums like The Great Cold Distance more than a few times. Obviously three or four years ago me had some strong enough feelings to initially rate it a 4.5/5, but going back to it left me feeling a bit lukewarm.
Since I'm not familiar with their earlier Death Doom days, Katatonia was always one of those groups that just sounded extremely clean, polished, and consistent throughout all the material I've heard from them. The Great Cold Distance is no different in that regard because even though there isn't a whole lot of variety through the 12 songs, I never really get tired of their style. They know what they want to do and do it extremely well, which I think is worthy of a lot of praise. However, this time around The Great Cold Distance didn't really grip me in the same way that Daniel begins to explain this time around. Katatonia always manages to create extremely complex atmospheres out of very simple and easy to understand passages and layering, but eventually the album started to drag on with too similar of ideas. It's fortunate that Katatonia have carved out their signature sound so heavily that it doesn't bother me too much in the end, but I still think it's a criticism that I have.
To sort of agree with Andi's point though, The Great Cold Distance is wholly accessible, but not necessarily in a bad way. There's still a ton of complexity to be had and I agree that this album may very well be a grower, to Daniel's point about subtlety. Alternative Metal styled Katatonia are one of those bands that I consider to be a gateway into the genre for people who say they hate Metal because all the music has is the same guitar riff over and over and someone screaming into the microphone. Alternative/Prog Metal like this shows that you can have a substantial and heavy emotional edge to something without necessarily going overboard with crazy Death or Black Metal riffing. The nice thing is that there are still plenty of heavy riffs to be had in this, so not much is lost by going towards the realm of accessibility. Great album, even if I don't quite think it's a full-blown masterpiece anymore.
Yeah I've always thought "Louder Than Love" was awesome. It's highlights ("Hands All Over", "Loud Love", "Gun", etc.) are sensationally bad-ass & heavy as fuck. It's definitely got some of Soundgarden's best material. I don't think the overall album is as as consistent as the two albums that followed it though, particularly "Badmotorfinger" which is my personal favourite.
Interestingly I am the other way. I find both later albums inconsistent and flawed despite their being obvious "hits" on them.
After giving this another spin alongside White Pony for comparison, I have to slightly retract my first statement and align more with Daniel, even though I still don't think it's worthy of 4.5/5 praise. Ohms is definitely a modernization of their style and while I may have missed the stepping stone considering I haven't checked out Koi no Yokan, it's definitely a bit more than "just another Deftones album". It's much cleaner and tighter than White Pony, and while I think that makes it a bit less interesting overall, I also think that the mixing and balance of this album falls more in line with what I like. Although White Pony has this sort of unhinged and in-your-face atmosphere, most of that comes from Moreno's moans and breathing being piped directly into the listener's eardrums at all points in time. Ohms is more moderate and puts the mixing right in the pocket of where Deftones' sound probably should be, for better or worse. There are some tracks that go back to the older sound, like the beginning of "This Link Is Dead" and "The Spell of Mathematics", but it's not a constant assault. The synth experimentation also fits in really well, never feeling like it's out of place. It also should be noted that there are some hefty riffs in this one that are great as standalone features instead of always being accented by the vocals like White Pony tended to do. "Genesis", "Urantia", and "Headless" all have great chuggy riffs that hit harder than most of their previous material.
So yeah, I think I wrote this one off a bit too soon. It's still a Deftones album, but it's a goodDeftones album. Not good enough for me to bump it up to a 4/5, but I came around to it after a few more listens.
I have made it clear in recent months that I have never cared for Primus, nor do I predict that I will ever care about Primus. They have always turned me off with their "look how quirky we are!" mentality to writing music that I just tune out. With Faith No More, you can still hear the cheese and it is on full display in the music, but I have always felt like, and with this album in particular, there has been some reality or seriousness attuned to it. And I have really enjoyed trying to pick it apart. As for the music itself, it is some of the best funk metal I have ever heard and helped lay a framework that most of us attribute to Rage Against the Machine. I really like most of the genre blending that takes place and all of it is crafted with the same amount of care; nothing sounds forced or underperformed. Very solid stuff.
Hate is a strong word, so I'll say that I strongly dislike System of a Down. It's been one of my hot musical opinions for quite a while, and sadly it hasn't changed when revisiting Toxicity. I can see the appeal since, like Saxy said, SOAD reinvigorated the Nu-Metal genre in a way that only they could have. Their songs are manic and crazy, keeping the listener on their toes at all points with their constant swaps between stripped down, but still complex melodic sections and crunchy chug sections.
There's only one problem with their style though; I find it incredibly, unbearably annoying. I can't point to any individual part of SOAD's sound and say it's objectively bad, like I don't think that Serj is a bad vocalist and their riffs hit pretty hard, but something strange happens when you put it all together. It's incredible how much willpower it takes me to listen to Toxicity cover to cover, since there's always this urge to just skip to something else with none of the riffs or sections getting any sort of reaction out of me.
"Chop Suey!" is obviously a classic that's been joked about for almost two decades now, "Aerials" is always a nice one to go back to every now and again, but no matter how many times I try, SOAD can't win me over. I think this'll continue to age well for the people who enjoy it since I doubt any other band will be able to capture the same sort of style as SOAD has, but I'll be seeing myself out now.
As I've said in the past when Lateralus popped up here, I was (and still am) a massive Tool fan and they still scratch a certain itch for me that no other band can. Their riff grooves and overall songwriting is unmatched when it comes to Alt Metal, even though they can go off the deep end a few too many times. Aenima sits below 10,000 Days as my second favorite Tool album, beating out Lateralus by quite a large margin. Even though the interludes are pretty silly and kind of unnecessary, I prefer how they're done in here over Lateralus' strange atmospheric drones that begin and end out of nowhere. For better or worse they're more memorable and, for me, actually add to the album experience. While Tool did try to go for humor I really think it's a nihilistic, ironic sort of humor that never really bothered me in the same way it seems to bother Saxy.
That being said everything in-between the interludes is fantastic, with pretty much every song except for maybe "H." being a Tool necessity. The amount of anger and cynicism towards the world comes out heavily in Aenima and makes the complex riffing hit just a bit harder. "Third Eye" is a bit too drawn out for my liking, "(-) Ions" never fails to make me exceedingly uncomfortable even though I know that's the point, and "jimmy" is definitely forgettable compared to the rest of the album. That said this is definitely still Tool at (almost) their best, so the end product is still going to get high marks from me. "Stinkfist", "Eulogy", "Forty Six & 2", and "Pushit" still have killer grooves and fantastic, emotionally charged vocals that still hold up as being essential to the Alt Metal genre.
Hi everyone. So we've been listening to your feedback on our initial Metal Academy Radio clan-specific playlists & we've returned with a slightly adjusted format for September in that we've focused a lot more on the primary subgenres rather than giving equal playtime to all subgenres covered by a clan. We've also started to make these playlists interactive as we're now taking our clan members suggestions for track inclusions with the intention of expanding this further as some of the less populous clans start to fill out.
Here's the September playlist for The Gateway. You'll notice that it's a lot heavier on the alternative metal & nu metal than it is rap metal & funk metal this time. It also starts out a lot stronger & more exciting. Please let us know what you think as we're still figuring out the best way to approach these playlists.
I was actually surprised by how much I enjoyed some of this playlist too, particularly the more intense stuff during the second half. In fact, I actually don't mind a lot of the heavier nu metal stuff which I don't often admit to myself. The funk metal & rap metal stuff is largely hit & miss for me personally & that Corey Feldman album is one of the worst things I've ever heard in my life & was very much a novelty inclusion. There's actually a lot worse I could have included from that album which is saying something. Who knew Corey had made a pop/metal record after he'd ceased to become even remotely relevant??
I was really surprised I enjoyed Frizzle Fry as much as I did, and the Primus experience might stop there because Sailing the Seas of Cheese just didn't do it for me, even though it's still an impressively wacky record. Claypool really starts to go off the deep end with this one, with the complex jams still there but not as tight or interesting as they were in Frizzle Fry. A lot of it feels like meandering shock factor, with songs having extended monologues from Les that range from a bit silly to a bit creepy at times. "Jerry Was A Racecar Driver" still remains my favorite Primus song through the thick of it all, but the other notable track "Tommy the Cat" ended up not aging that well for me. It just feels strange for the sake of being strange and it didn't really hook me into what it was trying to do. The musicianship is still top notch, if not a bit more straightforward than Frizzle Fry, and it's still certainly a one-of-a-kind product that only Primus could make thanks to its funky bass playing and use of crazy time signatures, but I fail to see the charm in it this time around.
I'm really glad that Deftones grew out of this initial style. They managed to pick out the strongest elements and expand upon those, leaving the choppy Nu-Metal songwriting and terrible production behind for Around The Fur. While sufficiently aggressive, the guitar tone is pretty atrocious and each song feels haphazard and pointless, mirroring my thoughts on other early Nu-Metal groups like Korn. The smooth, ever-present vocals don't mesh too well with the style of riffs they chose, making the whole thing a pretty confusing affair. I also find a lot of early Nu-Metal like this to be incredibly awkward with all of the whispering and free-form vocals like in "Nosebleed". I guess these are supposed to be emotional and angsty? Whatever the intent was, it definitely doesn't work on me. There are some good riffs in here and it's definitely a piece of Nu-Metal history, but I couldn't help but get more and more annoyed the longer I listened. I'm really grateful that they smoothed out their sound to something way more unique and interesting in such a short period of time after Adrenaline.